Another day, another dollar

Brits’ top treats revealed

You finally turn off your computer after a long and busy day. In fact, the whole month has felt like a bit of a slog. And now it’s finally payday. It’s time to do something for yourself for a change.

If this sounds familiar then we think you deserve a treat. What is your favourite thing to indulge in though?  

This is the question we asked 2,002 adults in a survey across the nation in November 2017, focusing on how they spend their disposable income, how these ‘little’ costs can soon add up and how they can cost them hours’ worth of their hard-earned cash.

  1. Buying a new outfit - £29.05 (37%)
  2. Eating a meal out - £25.11 (36%)
  3. Going to the cinema - £18.39 (30%)
  4. Getting a takeaway meal - £18.27 (28%)
  5. Buying perfume or aftershave - £26.17 (28%)
  6. Coffee and cake in a café - £11.31 (26%)
  7. A trip to the pub - £20.34 (24%)
  8. Buying a new mascara - £18.82 (22%)
  9. Netflix/Amazon Prime/Now TV subscription - £18.44 (21%)
  10. Taking a taxi instead of public transport - £17.21 (17%)

How do different jobs affect this?

We also looked at how long people in common occupations have to work to afford life’s little luxuries.

The five occupations which have to work the longest to pay for the top three most popular items are (based on hourly take home pay):

  1. Bar staff – 10 hours 12 minutes – 29% of the working week 1
  2. Sales assistants and retail cashiers – 9 hours 4 minutes – 26% of the working week
  3. Caring personal service occupations – 8 hours 37 minutes – 25% of the working week
  4. Administrative occupations – 6 hours 58 minutes – 20% of the working week
  5. Skilled metal, electrical and electronic trades – 6 hours 14 minutes – 18% of the working week

The most expensive and popular luxury that over a third (37%) of Brits buy monthly is a new outfit, costing on average £29.05. To afford this, sales/retail and bar workers would have to work 3 hours and 23 minutes and 4 hours 7 minutes respectively, compared to solicitors and managers/directors who would have to work only 1 hour and 22 minutes or 1 hour 25 minutes respectively.

The cheapest luxury that over a quarter (26%) of British workers buy monthly is a coffee and cake at a café, amounting on average to £11.31 each time they indulge. Those in teaching and educational professions and business, media and public services both must work for 38 minutes and 40 minutes respectively to afford this luxury.

A fast buck…

Just for a bit of fun, we also researched how long some of the biggest household names in the UK would need to work to afford the top three most popular luxuries. Comedian and TV host, James Corden, on his annual £3 million salary would only have to work for 2 minutes and 38 seconds. Champion tennis player, Andy Murray, earns a cool £17.3 million yearly meaning that to afford these popular extras, he would only have to work for approximately 27 seconds!

Life is for living…

In light of this study, Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director at Portafina, said: “So, buying a new outfit is the number one little luxury we treat ourselves to each month. I clearly need to go shopping more!

“While there are no great surprises on the rest of the list, getting an idea of how much we are spending on non-essentials is a valuable exercise, especially when we are faced with the cold reality of how many hours we’ve had to work to get them.

“And when essential outgoings eat a big chunk of our take-home pay each month before we even get a chance to see it, the money that’s left becomes even more valuable.

“That’s why taking a few minutes to work out your disposable income and what you spend this money on can make you even smarter when it comes to managing your finances. And if you can cut back on a few of those luxuries now, it should mean you have more money to keep treating yourself and your family in the future. Life should be for living, after all.”

Dig a little deeper!

Click here to discover how habits can change depending on where we live, our gender and our age. 

Call 0800 304 7288 for a friendly chat about your pension

Important information

The working week is assured to be seven hours a day, five days a week.  

2,002 people across UK in November 2017

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